Global Terrorism Index Methodology

Given the resources committed to counter terrorism efforts internationally, it is important to analyse and aggregate various properties such as the differencing economic conditions, geo-political aspects and ideological aims of terrorist groups; types of strategic and tactical terrorist targets and how these evolve over time. A key aim of the GTI is to examine these trends to help inform a positive and practical debate about the future of terrorism and policy responses.

Definition of terrorism

There is no universally accepted definition of what constitutes terrorism. The GTI uses the same definition of terrorism as START: “the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation”.


The GTI measures the impact of terrorism in 162 countries according to four indicators. The index is based on data from the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland.

The GTI uses four indicators to account for each country’s yearly terrorism score. They are: the total number of terrorist incidents, the number of fatalities, the number of injuries and the approximate level of property damage.

The indicators are weighted to ensure the severity of terrorism is accurately reflected in the index. For example the number of fatalities is assigned more weight than the level of property damage.

To measure the impact of terrorism, the GTI score is used to create a five year weighted average, which means that events from previous years are taken into consideration and have a bearing on a country’s score for the current year. This allows the index to account for the lingering effect terrorist acts have on a society in terms of emotional wounds and fear.

Institute for Economics and Peace

The GTI is produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, the brains behind Vision of Humanity. More detailed information about the methodology and findings of the GTI can be found in the GTI Report. For any further questions or data requests, please contact us through the ‘Contact’ section of this website.

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Global Terrorism Index Report

17,958 people were killed in terrorist attacks last year, that’s 61% more than the previous year. Get the facts on terrorism with the 2014 Global Terrorism Index Report.

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